Toasted Almond Sables

Toasted Almond Sables Recipe

When I go to flea markets or stop by a neighborhood garage sale, I always find myself rummaging through weathered cardboard boxes looking for cookie cutters. Vintage ones, distinctive ones. You might imagine I have drawers full of them, but that's not actually true. I have two small shoe-box sized containers of cookie cutters. That's it. It doesn't actually feel like a lot to some who loves to roll and stamp cookies as much as I do, but the good ones are hard to come by. Beyond shape, I have a fondness for metal cutters with sharp edges, and good structure. Shapes that can cut cleanly through a currant or dried cranberry if need be. Today, I thought I'd show you a few of my scores, and share a favorite cookie-cutter friendly recipe as well.

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

So, I love my Swedish heart cookie cutter. It's roughly the size of my palm and is perfectly symmetric. Here's the thing. Hearts are a popular shape for cookie cutters, yet each heart is an individual. Some plunge deep, some curve shallow and soft, some are wide and squat, some are tall and elongated...each one says something different with its shape. There are friendly hearts, serious hearts, sophisticated hearts. It's a personal preference, but I tend to like the hearts that are just about as wide as they are tall. Symmetrical, direct, with clean lines.

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

Then there are the wild card cookie cutters that I can't pass up. Like this farmhouse collection. The shapes get a bit mushy over the years, but the primitive lines are charming and the patina on the cutters beautiful. The pig has apparently escaped - note to self to find him.

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

I've been making tiny shortbread in the shapes of small hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs since I was a kid, and tend to prefer tiny cutters for butter-rich cookies. They're the type of cookies where a couple make the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon coffee or tea. Today's cookies qualify, and I picked the teardrop shape.

These toasted almond sable cookies are a take-off on Alice Medrich's charming Whole Wheat Sables, published in her book Pure Dessert a few years back. I love them, and make them a number of different ways depending on what I have on hand. This variation is hard to beat - toasty, nutty, peppered with dried currants. They're made with whole wheat and all-purpose flours, sliced almonds, and the best butter you can come by. That said, I made another variation with June Taylor's candied citrus peels for the Little Flower School class a couple weeks back - swapping finely chopped peel for the currants you'll see in the recipe below. The peel left lovely little slashes of color throughout the cookies, and bursts of citrus flavor. I really loved those too.

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

For those of you who've made it this far. I made a note to myself for next time. I'm excited to try this recipe using Dorie's trick of using cultured butter - for a hint of tang. It might be the thing to put these right over the top.

Toasted Almond Sables Cookies

A couple notes. I used Straus Creamery lightly salted butter here. I like a good amount of salty to counter sweet in cookies like these. And basically, butter cookies like these are all about good butter. That said, you can use good unsalted butter and, in a sense, season the dough to your tastes before baking. If I were using unsalted butter, I might start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and adjust from there. I also tend to bake these a bit longer than typical. I like the bottoms solidly golden, and tops lightly/mid golden.

1 cup / 4.5 oz / 130 g unbleached all-purpose flour
Scant 1 cup / 4 oz / 115g whole wheat flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup / 1 oz / 30 g lightly toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / currants
large grain sugar, for sprinkling

In a medium bowl whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, salt and vanilla, until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Stir in the almonds. Add the flour and mix until barely combined. Add the currants and stir until just incorporated. Scrape the dough into a ball, and if you feel like it needs to come together a bit more, knead it once or twice on the counter top, or until it is smooth. Shape into a round, flat patty shape wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for a couple hours, or overnight.

About fifteen minutes before you're ready to stamp out your cookie shapes, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350F / 180C. And line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough out 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured counter top, and stamp into desired shapes. You can collect and roll out dough scraps as well, after your first round of stamping. But if the dough gets too warm, pop if back in the refrigerator for a bit. Place cookies at least an inch apart on a prepared baking sheets, sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of large-grain sugar, and chill them one last time in the freezer for another ten minutes.

Bake until the cookies are golden at the edges, 13 to 15 minutes, but watch them closely. It's more about coloring than time here. Rotate the sheets back to front about 9 minutes in. Remove from the oven and after a minute or two transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

I store leftovers in big jars and they keep beautifully for days. The recipe makes dozens of tiny cookies. The yield really depends on the size of your cookie cutter.

Inspired and adapted from Alice Medrich's Whole Wheat Sables recipe in Pure Dessert. Love this book.

Prep time: 120 min - Cook time: 15 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I need more cookie cutters. What a great colection you have! These cookies scream elegance :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

These are SO cute! I'm dying to make your itty bitty carrot cookies first, but these will be next.

A Teenage Gourmet

Will be making these tomorrow! Obsessed your cutter collection.


I really need more cookie cutters - especially tiny ones. I have quite a few large ones, which can be fun too, but the tiny ones intrigue me the most. My local second hand store doesn't have a very impressive selection though. The sables look fantastic. I bet the whole wheat flour in them is wonderful :)


I love your cookie cutters! It's so hard to find ones made of sharp, quality metal these days. I hope you find your piggy!!

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

You have a way with my heart with all these nibbles the past couple of posts. I love the idea of small when it comes to rich, buttery cookies. Perfect after dinner nibble with a glass of sweet wine!


Love all of those cutters! These look divine.

Jessica @ How Sweet

Good flea market buy! I have a couple simple cutters from my grand mother with the same green handles! This recipe seems just right for those cutters :)


love the tiny butter cookies. That is perfect. Love the farmhouse cookie cutter collection. It won't be the same without the pig!

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

Yummy and tempting recipe.. thanks for sharing !!
Indian Cuisine

Hari Chandana

Pretty little cookies -- and I LOVE that cute farmhouse collection of cookie cutters. How quirky and sweet!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking



Those are absolutely adorable! Maybe a savory version with toasted cumin seeds and black pepper is in order - I'll get right on it.

Kartik @ Bakeology 101

These are so cute! I've never thought of cookies in a tear drop shape!
Thanks for showing us your cookie cutter collection too :)


I hope my daughters will want to keep my cookie cutters. We hang them on the tree at Christmas time.
I have an odd request, Heidi, but I think this time I have made something I think you would like and I am hoping you can come to "my" little corner of Blogland and see it. It has nothing to do with food, but when I look at the photos in your cookbooks they seem to have the same vibe as what I have made.
Fingers crossed. Carolina

HS: Thanks for sharing your link Carolina! I just added your lovely creation to one of my Pinterest boards. Beautiful!

The Muse of The Day

You have such an eye for shopping at vintage stores and flea markets. Every time you feature your finds, I'm inspired to visit local vintage stores, but never seem to have the same luck, perhaps patience is in order.

These cookies look scrumptious, and I imagine fabulous with June Taylor's candied fruit. They are so petite and cute, I bet they go really quickly.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

I love that little card holder, and I've been looking everywhere for one like that. Do you mind sharing where you found it?

HS: Hi Theresa, I bought about six of them at a little shop named Prize that used to be here in SF. But it was years and years ago, and the shop has since moved to Eugene.


Those teardrop shaped cookies look lovely and so unusual. And you must find the pig and put up his picture!

HS: I will!

Pooja Pillai

You have the Swedish heart but you definitely need a dalahäst to complete your collection :)

Jessica Braz

Your blog - no wait - you're whole philosophy about food, is absolutely amazing. I've just discovered this site and I'm definitely hooked. You've put into words, photos and creations exactly how I'd like to eat.
Keep up the beautiful work.

p.s. love the cookie cutter collection!

Julian Brown

I've never been able to get cultured butter, however I highly recommend goat's butter in shortbread type cookies. It goes great with cornmeal and lemon shortbread, but my favourite is to make Dorie's pecan powder puffs with it and almonds. Though you may need to cut the salt in the rest of the recipe. Or just to eat it spread on toast/muffins/banana bread.

HS: Ooh. Great tip Shaney. I'm all over this.


Oh my! You have the cutest and most unique cookie cutter collection. I love it! These cookies sound so tasty. Great post!


These look fantastic! Great collection of cookie cutters

Maris (In Good Taste)

Is it wrong that though I'm not really in to baking cookies I suddenly really want to collect cookie cutters? :)

JL goes Vegan

Oh these are so fun!

Simply Life

My mouth is watering seeing these recipes. I hope i can prepare them at home too.

Robbin Mann

Gorgeous cutter collection. I've just started collecting.

Honestly Good Food

I love collecting cookie cutters. I definitely need some more small ones! These look so elegant. Time to schedule another trip to Amish country; they have huge selections of cutters. I want some little animal shapes, too! Love the currants in these as well.


My husband's Nana has the most extraordinary cookie cutter collection, which is wonderful as she has a recipe for the lightest, crispest sugar cookies I've ever had. I look forward to my baking lesson with her, and a shot to use her cookies cutters. I hope to share this sables recipe next time we have a visit. Thank you.


My daughter loves butter cookies and prefers them to the sweeter more traditional "kid" cookies. Although she's a stickler about not having chunks of anything in the cookies...

I'm thinking about grinding the almonds into a texture like flour and using almond extract instead of vanilla. Might I have to pull back on the flour if the almonds are ground up that way?

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat)

Hi Heidi! First-time commenter, long-time reader. These are beautiful, especially with the crystalline sugar. I have a thing for old cookie cutters, too--just old kitchen gear in general, really. I whip cream with a hand mixer from the '40s. Thanks for sharing your collection with us!


these look so good, heidi. i have all of the cookie cutters from when i was a little girl. using them brings back so many memories.

i don't have pure dessert but am having fun making my way through chewy gooey crispy crunchy also by medrich. recently made her graham crackers.


What a great collection of cookie cutters! I'm inspired to get some of my own. Your sables sound great too!


I love almonds and sables. Like you said, if they are not too big, they are perfect with afternoon tea when all my sugar cravings hit. I have been reading your blog for a long time but never commented until now. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.


so adorable! i love those cookie cutters.

laura @ alittlebarefoot

I never have the patience to actually make roll out cookies, but these tear drop shapes are so elegant.


Growing up in a Swedish household, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about with those perfect heart shaped cookie cutters. I really think pepparkokkar tastes better in that shape. :)


these are so so cute heidi! i love that first picture!


Wow. I love you cookie cutter collection. Makes me want to go out and hunt for more. I think hobbylobby is a good place to find a nice variety of good cookie cutters! :) Great post! Will try to try this out :)
Im a clumsy baker :P

xx G

Look who's Wearing (LwW)

Gayatri Kumar

Love the cookie cutter collection.

These cookies look and sound lovely- the perfect size for an afternoon cup of tea.


I am obsessed with cookie cutters! I have a huge collection and usually buy at least a set or two a year (usually around Christmas)....

Lovely recipe!

Rocky Mountain Woman

Wow! These look lovely! I really like the teardrop shape. :-) Definitely another keeper cookie recipe from Heidi!


Okay I'm back to loving 101 Cookbooks.

I felt we needed some time apart, too much quinoa, farro and lentil face-time. So I'm shallow; I was just needing a tasty baked good recipe with things from my own pantry. It's hard to find hummingbird tear nectar in my neck of the woods.

No, no, no, don't change for me, but remember some folks eat dessert first and have simple needs. (Seriously, a yummy and welcomed recipe, thank you.)

Tom @ Tall Clover

Have you been to the vintage kitchen shop on Divisidero near Haight? They have EVERYTHING you could want for cooking/baking, and lots of amazing finds that bring you right back to grandma's kitchen...


Isn;t it amazing how the shape can make such a difference in the whole cookie experience? It's like pasta - same basic process, but different shapes just ARE different. Your mouth knows it. So I say a large collection of cookie cutters is fantastic!


These look so dreamy that I am looking forward to a steam cup of flavored coffee and handfuls of these gems on this wintry weeknd. This looks like a keeper that migh be a giveaway gift for an upcoming event. Thanks Heidi ... you never disappoint.


These look so sweet (love the size); there's something fitting about warm spring afternoons and super buttery cookies, too. Envious of your collection -- I have some of my grandmother's and am always on the look-out for me, but I tend to be one of those unlucky garage sale girls. Happy weekend (enjoy this weather!)

Megan Gordon

I love your collection of cutters. I have a collection too! My Grandmother who was a wonderful baker and left me her collection along with 6 cutters that belonged to my Great Grandmother. I love making cookies with them and thinking about them doing the same. I have red handled ones and green handled ones and metal handled ones. I have collected some on my own to add to this collection. Hearts are my favorite shape and they really do come in lots of different "heart shapes". Happy Baking Ginny


Lovely, lovely cookies! Question-any reason not to just sub whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour for all the flour (all-purpose and whole wheat)? Just curious.


perfectly simple and elegant, a must try for me!

Chandra Paton

Anxious to try your toasted almond sable cookies. I have lots of old cookie cutters as well (which I use). They look really nice displayed on a very old cutting board (or weathered wood/barn board looks nice, too) which hangs in my "country room." Love your recipes, books, and photographs, Heidi. Thanks so much!


These diminutive cookies look sublime! There's nothing like the smell of butter baking in your kitchen - it makes me salivate just thinking about it. Love the cookie cutters too. It reminds of my Mom's collection growing up.

These diminutive cookies look sublime! There's nothing like the smell of butter baking in your kitchen - it makes me salivate just thinking about it. Love the cookie cutters too. It reminds of my Mom's collection growing up.

I'm a bit jealous of your cookie cutter collection! Fantastic finds. They are one of my favorite things to look for at garage sales too. I like seeing a whole wheat recipe for butter cookies. Do you think it would be too much to sub in white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose?

HS: Hi Jacqui & Pamela too - I think I'd go with whole wheat pastry flour if you wanted to swap in 100%. I think they'd be great - but there is something about this blend that is really perfect.


What a lovely post. I hung on to your every word and laughed when you provided information "for those who've made it this far." I like your aesthetic and also prefer hearts of that shape. Love the recipe too thx!


I found some dog-related cookie cutters a few years ago that I adore. I have bones, fire hydrant, and all dog shapes. i make wheat-free dog biscuits for our allergic Basset Hound. I think these shortbreads would be great with lemon and lavender as well. Yum!

Shannon Marie

I love finding unique cookie cutters especially vintage ones, which are so fun. Lovely post, Heidi. These cookies look beautiful!

The Healthy Apple

These cookies look delicious! Love all your cookie cutters too especially the older ones. My mom definitely has some of those antique ones with the red handles.

Happy When Not Hungry

Those are so appealing! I love the little teardrop shapes and totally agree with you about vintage cookie cutters... new ones can't compare. I noticed the little limoncello cookies in the other jar (those are awesome!).


cookie cutters are hard to find...
mostly at the store you can only find the crappy plastic ones.


That really is a great shaped heart cookie cutter Heidi. Love them all! Will have to post you over a one of my kiwi cookie cutters at some stage to add to your collection :-)


The tiny heart and club cutters were actually originally for aspic. I have a nearly identical set from my grandmother labeled "aspic and hors d'oeuvre cutters." (I use them for pie and tart crust designs).


I have a love affair with cookie cutters too, old and new, but the well-made and sturdy-edged are definite favorites... along with almost anything diminutive. Lovely to get a glimpse of yours Heidi... thanks for sharing.
A lick-and-stick gold star goes out to you for actually using your cutters. ;)


Our family likes cookie cutters in different shapes to decorate at Christmas gifts, a fun occasion for a family activity. Really like your idea about making really small cookies. Helps to control portions. Bite size treats make great snacks and your toasted almond sables sound delicious. Thank you for sharing.


About the only things I was allowed to keep from a bad marriage were the cooking utensils. Cookie cutters and biscuit cutters from Grandmother's and Mother's old hand-me-downs. Heavy made and solid. I'm still using them today, 30+ years later. I'm just glad my wife never learned to cook now.


how fun are these my wife would love your collection of cookie cutters btw...

The Manly Housewife

I now have something else to collect! I don't know why I never thought of collecting cookie cutters! I made these last night and dipped half of the cookie in chocolate. Outstanding! Thanks for another fabulous article. When does the book come out? Did I miss a post?

HS: Hi Annmarie - any day now! I suspect they'll ship from Amazon on Monday?

Annmarie Kostyk

In my little town in Germany, there is a market stall that sells the most beautiful and sharp cutters - I am in love with the 'vintage' collection, featuring beautiful floral shapes.

A good cookie cutter is a real treasure - I have many but always end up using the same 4-5 which I really like. I am starting to use them for vegetable cutting and decorations as well and quality for this is even more crucial.


I just made your ginger shortbread recipe from your book. Can you tell me where you found those adorable molds for your cookies in the picture?


Mmm. Sounds lovely. I may have to make a gf/cf version of these. I also love funky metal cookie cutters. I've tried the vintage plastic ones and *UGH* they really don't cut well. The sharp metal ones may be a tad dangerous to those clumsy with sharp things (such as myself) but they just work so much better.

Thanks for the eye candy and lovely recipe.

Hannah Holistic

Love that farmhouse collection.


Sense of Home

That photo of cookies is artwork, Heidi. Sometimes it's hard for me to decide which I love more: your photos, your food or your willingness to share you recipes! It's a trifecta.

I know this is a lame-o question, and you somewhat answered it in the post, but how do you make sure the cookie cutter is sharp? I've bought a few I thought were sharp (ran my finger around the edges) from antique stores, only to find that they wouldn't cut through the olives in your tasty olive cookies. Hurmph! Is there a way to sharpen them?

Maybe that's where your piggy went--to the sharpener! (Better than the butcher!)


I imagine they'd be irresistable dipped in chocolate!

Janice Harper

i loved this little tour through your shoeboxes, heidi. thanks for the peek!


I like tha farmhouse collection but mostly I like cookies any shape!

Sabrina Smeraldini

Made these yesterday, delicious! Also made the Black Tea Spring Rolls from Super Natural Cooking, another hit with husband, sons and their girl friends. We can always count on your recipes Heidi, thank you. Then this morning checking my email I see that your new book, which I had pre ordered, is shipping today! I am soooooo excited.


I LOVE the sight of the cookies in those glas jars, especially the one with icing sugar around. Over here, we have such trouble to find the sugar you use on top of the cookies... plus our wheather is always very humid... :(

Very nice post indeed!


You have so many cute cookie cutters! All i've got so far is a circle and Christmas shapes.

These cookies do look like the perfect little bite. Yum :)

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather

I made this recipe the other night with a few alterations... they were delicious!

First, I used cranberries instead of currants, because it's what I had.

Second, I added about .5 tbsp of orange zest and a tbsp of orange juice - it was a nice addition.

Finally, even after compensating for the extra orange juice, I found that the dough was much too wet to be rolled out... it was closer to a scone dough, so I just dropped them using two spoons and they turned out great.

Overall, I really enjoyed them, but I think next time I might brown some or all of the butter to add just a little more depth of flavor.

Thanks for the great recipes, Heidi!


I just couldn't resist and want to thank you for this magnificent post. I even wrote a blog post about it here


I just couldn't resist and want to thank you for this magnificent post. I even wrote a blog post about it here


Clearly, I need more cookie cutters! I've always been a main dish and sides kinda cook, but I'm trying to learn to bake. So far no real disasters.... crossing fingers!


I love these little teardrops. Wonderful cookie cutter shapes, not "cookie cutter" at all ; )

Denise | Chez Danisse

I just bought your "super natural cooking" because i couldn't resist, after having read all these posts for so long :)


My mom has those 'card' cookie cutters. My sister's last name is Card now so they actually get a lot of use, especially for gingersnaps.
Oh, and my pre-ordered Super Natural Cooking has shipped to me! Can't wait =)


This has nothing to do w/ this recipe in particular but, I just got the Amazon confirmation email that my Super Natural Every Day book is on its way! CANNOT WAIT to get this package in the mail; I feel like a kid at Christmastime . . . :)


just got my copy of Super Natural EveryDay ... and like SP, I thought how much i feel like a kid on Christmas :) can't wait to delve in and enjoy!


Manumitted Information Up Reducing Heaviness - Fast Diets Free. This website covers all abstain and yield loss questions, including: how to reduce substance, how to smoulder body fat, how fast


Heidi - I just got my copy of Super Natural Every Day in the mail today and i LOVE IT!!!!!!!

i love how many recipes it has. im really bummed to leave for work now because i want to read the whole thing!

thank you!!!

toronto, canada


I love the idea of making heart, club, spade and diamond cookies -- I can envision them as a delightful snack for some kind of card-playing party. Thanks for the inspiration!

Lady Amalthea

what is in the left cookie jar, the white crinkled square-ish cookies?? :)

HS: Hi Ana-Marie, I did a tiny version of these Limoncello Macaroons.


So pretty and tempting, yummy!


Made the Sable cookies and and used the same little cookie cutter. What a hit they were! Everyone loved the taste and the bite size.


I love this! Nice collection of cookie cutters...I have a large collection as well, even though I don't make cutout cookies all that often. I just can't seem to resist them. This recipe seems perfect to try some of them out...

Thanks for sharing yours :)


These cookies are so cute! I bet you can eat an awful lot of them non stop :)


Love the shape of these! And I had never thought about it until reading this post, that shortbread would be so good in little bites such as these! That buttery flakiness would be perfect packed into just a little bite. Now I've got to go make some!


I made these lovely little guys on Monday and they turned out wonderfully! Crunchy, hearty, and perfectly sweet. I experimented a bit by subbing out 1/4 cup of the all purpose flour with 1/4 cup oat flour and it worked great. Thank you for your healthful, delightful recipes! See you at the Seattle book signing in a few weeks!


Those cookies you describe with little hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds sound like they would be just the thing for my mother's bridge group.

Mmm, now I'm dreaming of shortbread.

Tammi Kibler @ How Do You Cook Quinoa?

Свеет веб сајт, нисам наишао блог.ангелсфромаброад.цом раније у мојим претрагама носе на фантастичан посао!


I just made these and they are delicious! I couldn't find currants at my grocery store, so I substituted prunes. The prunes became sticky and made cutting the cookies into shapes difficult, so I just ended up rolling the dough into little balls and stamping them with a fork, peanut butter cookie style. Turned out great!


The tiny animal cookie cutters (also featured on the Oatmeal Crackers posting) can be purchased here: They're each about 1.5" in length.


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